March 8 is International Women’s Day, and the organizers of the Women’s March on Washington have called for a “Day Without a Woman” to coincide with an international women’s strike. This united effort is meant to recognize “the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system -- while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job security,” as the Women’s March website states.
“We recognize that trans and gender nonconforming people face heightened levels of discrimination, social oppression and political targeting,” the website goes on to say. “We believe in gender justice.”
Similar to the Day Without Immigrants and the Women’s March, the event is a chance to stand up for those in our society who have been, and continue to be, marginalized and oppressed. As part of the event, individuals can participate by: women taking the day off from paid and unpaid labor and all people supporting small, women- and minority-owned businesses.
“Let’s raise our voices together again to say that women’s rights are human rights, regardless fo a woman’s race, ethnicity, religion, immigration status, sexual identity, gender expression, economic status, age, or disability,” the organizers write.
The women of our city are indispensable, and without them our very functioning would jolt to an immediate full stop. Let us take the time to recognize and honor the amazing women of our city.
Just a few of the remarkable women that work tirelessly to run our city government include: Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, Second Ward Commissioner Ruth Kelly, Third Ward Commissioner Senita Lenear, Economic Development Director Kara Wood, Planning Director Suzanne Schulz, Managing Director of Administration Services Mari Beth Jelks, 311 Custom Service Manager Becky Jo Glover, City Clerk Darlene O’Neal, and City Attorney Anita Hitchcock.
Below are more brilliant women who are not always in the spotlight but help shape, run and push our city forward every day. This list, of course, could go on almost endlessly, and we’d love to hear from you about the women who aren’t on here in the comments below.
Creative Director at Rebellious Creative, Membership Director at AIGA West Michigan
Owner of Curly Host, Founder/Host at Doc Night
Community Engagement Organizer at the City of Grand Rapids
Breannah R. Alexander
Director of Strategic Programs at Partners for a Racism Free Community
Board Member of Equity PAC
Exhibitions Curator at Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, Founding President of Throwbactivists
Program Manager at Grand Circus, Co-Chair of Equity PAC
FitKids360 Program Coordinator at Health Net of West Michigan, Board Member of Equity Drinks
Kiran Sood Patel
Managing Editor of The Rapidian
Community Relations Coordinator at Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.
Executive Director of The Geek Group National Science Institute
Lisa Ann Cockrel
Director at Festival of Faith & Writing, Managing Director at Calvin Center for Faith & Writing.
Adult Education at Grand Rapids Community College
Creative Team Leader at Meijer, Adjunct Professor at Kendall College of Art and Design, Co-founder of Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival
On The Ground Editor at Rapid Growth Media
Executive Director of The Source, Cofounder at The Latina Network of West Michigan
Director of Programs at Health Net of West Michigan, Board Member of Equity Drinks, Cofounder at The Latina Network of West Michigan
Welcome + Inclusion Specialist at HQ
Director of Richard M. and Helen DeVos Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
Program Director at Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities - Cook Arts Center
With women still earning on average 79 cents for every dollar a man makes, there is still much work to be done -- even if the gender pay gap has shrunk over the decades. Grand Rapids can count itself lucky to be the home so many talented women.
Let's continue to recognize, honor and work harder for all the women in our lives who have given so much, been denied more, and have been compensated even less. The time is now.
Ken Miguel-Cipriano is Rapid Growth’s innovation and jobs editor. To reach Ken, you can email [email protected] or follow him on Twitter and Instagram.